Want to read Slashdot from your mobile device? Point it at m.slashdot.org and keep reading!

 



Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
Check out the new SourceForge HTML5 internet speed test! No Flash necessary and runs on all devices. ×
United States

ROTC-Like Program for Nerds 200

ThatGuyAZ writes "President Clinton announced this morning that he's proposing to put $91 Million into supporting the college educations of computer science students. I'm wondering how much this might be in response to criticism that too many foreigners were in sensitive positions during the Y2K bug-fix stage. But that's just my guess..."
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

ROTC-Like Program for Nerds

Comments Filter:
  • At the federal (presidential?) level, 91 million dollars is pretty trivial.

    TomG
  • Now I may be able to get a scholarship to pay for school 6 years ago?
  • in the article. While it is understandable that security checks should be made for those working on sensitive systems the article seems to hinting that Chinese citizens are the prime target - it also quotes a specific number for their category. I hope this isn't going to turn into embarrassing hysteria similar to the supposed nuclear secrets leak where people get targetted unreasonably and are not allowed due process
  • I suppose somewhere, people are thinking along the lines of a cyberspace force, similar to our other defense services (army, navy, air force, ...) who's job it would be to defend and fight in cyberspace when called on. Manning, training, equipping such a force could easily go way past $91M ...
  • The federal government placed those individuals there intentionally. They're cheaper to employ, and they (the FAA) had a budget to meet.

    Back ontopic...

    The only thing I can see coming out of this 'grant' is more MCSE's, BS's, and AS's without a clue. All the marginally intelligent CS/IT/IS hopefuls are near-automatically guaranteed admission to college or employment on their merit alone; Do we really need to hand out CS scholarships to people that would not normally pursue it if not for the extra $?
  • I'm not sure if this really has anything to do with Y2K, or if it's just general lip service PR by our beloved (sarcasm) president.

    I think maybe the reason we "hired out" much of the Y2K work, is simply because there's a lot of technical people that didn't WANT to work on Y2K issues. We are already doing things that are probably a lot more fun. Just my personal opinion, though.
  • This is just for people working on computer security issues. And after you graduate, you have to go work for the government, just like joining the army after ROTC.

    Mike
  • The government might have problems selecting students for this. First, they need the best of the best. Alot of times, you could not find these people until after a year of college, and when students realize that they have excellent computer science skills, they will want to go to the private industry where they can make more money and pay off loans they took out rather than working for less at a government job. Yes, there will be people that want to work with the government, but I guess I just feel that if I have skills that can give me a comfortable salary and I can live without worry, I would take it.
  • by Money__ ( 87045 ) on Friday January 07, 2000 @09:17AM (#1393955)
    College is to late.
    The problem is in education, and education starts early.

    These same funds would be better spent on the younger grades. If this spending was maintained for 20 years, The entire nation would be more educated on CS (and also well stocked with secutiry experts) and how use and apply what they've learned.
    _________________________

  • I hate to say it, but like the y2k!=millennium thing, I think we've already lost that war. It's time for us to redefine a new word for ourselves...maybe something that doesn't end in "ackers" to avoid confusion...


    mcrandello@my-deja.com
    rschaar{at}pegasus.cc.ucf.edu if it's important.
  • I cant help but wonder is this money going to be used to create a new Three letter name agency or is it recuitment money for the Three letter agencies (CIA NSA )and BTW what is their stake in electronic warfare you think these people would be leading the way in this feild ?
  • by TomG ( 9985 )
    No.
  • 91 mil in scholarships in exchange for future public service.
    Ok, wouldn't it be simpler to take that 91 million and use it to hire US citizens away from the private sector?
    Oh wait, that would provide instant results instead of dissappointing results during the next guy's term.
    --Shoeboy
  • Well, from what I gather, we aren't suffering from people who know security. We are suffering from managers and leaders who won't do anything to fix known holes in security.

    This wouldn't be a bad idea, but coming from President Clipper Chip, it is a little ominous. If he's so intent on improving education, why doesn't he do something where we really need it-- at elementary and high schools. Hard to major in CS when you can't read or do simple math. He keeps caving in to the teachers unions instead of doing something productive.

  • by konstant ( 63560 ) on Friday January 07, 2000 @09:20AM (#1393962)
    Hey, what a marvellous career path for a computer science major - the US. Army!

    It has all the qualities that suit a hackor best:
    *rigid command hierarchy
    *formalized attire
    *shitty pay
    *no respect from the public
    *9-5 workday
    *guns! (thrown in for ESR, I'm guessing - that clever clinton!)

    And on top of all this, you get to work against your ideals by squashing online insurgency! Wonderful! Where can I sign up?

    -konstant
    Yes! We are all individuals! I'm not!
  • by DarkClown ( 7673 ) on Friday January 07, 2000 @09:20AM (#1393963) Homepage
    the first thing that sprung to my mind before i read the article was an image of a shaved headed teenager in a uniform sitting in trembling attention at a terminal while being yelled at by a smokey the bear hat wearing mean guy about how he 'just kill -9'd his buddy' by not recompiling a kernel correctly.
  • I can't see a problem giving some of the brightest young people in society discounted or free college educations. I wish I had such an opportunity at the University of Maryland. However, the government service part may simply not be that helpful. The way inwhich many Computer Science students think, from my experience anyway (Your mileage may vary) is that they really don't trust the Government and would like to avoid coming to their notice, much less work for them. Also Government salarys, for the most part, are horrid. Not all are that bad, but some of the job postings I saw, I almost died of laughter. "Where are they going to get someone with that skill set to take that large a pay cut?" Well, I suppose we can fill those possitions with fresh college grads. However, you run into the problem where these students are green. Mostly, there is no real world experience, and their work ethic is sometimes questionable. (Heh, mine has been questioned. :)

    In short I like the money for school, but if the government wants talent in their ranks, pump up those salary numbers. The best are worth more than $30,000 a year... Also, the government should stop scaring our youth. I don't know how they do it, but they do..

    Mike
  • Good points. There is already plenty of motivation to get a computer education, namely a high chance of a good paying job. CS grads are already near the top of the heap in post-graduation pay.

    The fact that few college students choose a computer career is very likely NOT to to difficulty paying for it.
  • 91 million does not seem like allotfor a govornment program, but consider: Even if half of that goes to administrative overhead (unlikely) there is still enough money to give about 400 people a free ride to ivy league colleges or places like Berkly and Caltech.

    Offten, these kinds of programs only pay for thinks like books and tuition, not room and board. so the actual number of people who can be funded is higher, probably arround 600+. And since not everyone is going to places that cost 30K a year. Some may be going to good public CS schools like U of MD or IL, the actual number of students benifiting from the money would be clooser to a thousand.
    a pretty good number

    -Mateorabi

  • It's all how you look at it:
    'Have to work for the govornment' vs.
    'Guaranteed a job for ~5 years after you graduate'
    not to mention job experience that emplyoers will love after your'e done.

  • by Anonymous Coward
    Actually, its not that bad. Its enough to cover a couple thousand students at full-ride. Of course, this is assuming all of that $91M gets dispersed to the students. I'm not sure how these scholarships are actually setup and funded. Perhaps someone familiar can comment. Then again, he's just proposing it. The House of Rep has to approve it into the budget. This may be a PR stunt if they put it on an unpopular budget proposal thats doomed to fail. Tom
  • by Kaa ( 21510 )
    It's time for us to redefine a new word for ourselves

    You may define a new word for yourself. I am not going to.

    Kaa
  • Clinton also announced a related program to counter-balance this unprecedented proposal: "You see, Computer nerds are predominantly male, in order to offer a program equally rewarding for women I will be setting up the White House Intern Scholarship Program. I will be hand-picking the candidates and I hope to have the program up and 'operational' before my term ends next year...hehehe...I mean, uh, ignore that last part! Hillary!!! I'm doin' it again!"
  • by Corrinne Yu ( 121661 ) on Friday January 07, 2000 @09:32AM (#1393974)
    // literacy

    More funding to computer literacy can do potential good.

    // "paranoia"

    I remember when the Feds were really obsessed with the "crackers" (literally pirate groups that crack copy protection of software and warez them out) and did these huge and invasive crackdowns that led to the Steve Jackson raiding controversy.

    And that small children (I was one of them) were offered cash per person that they would squeal on who is such a cracker. (FYI, I didn't turn anyone in. :) )

    Not that this is (or is it?) Clinton's idea.

    I don't want to see a "Big Brother" state of teenage computer coders being financially encouraged to turn in and monitor their fellow coders (most of them innocent).

    Much of coding is learning from each other and sharing information and understanding. This involves a lot of trust and friendship.

    I would hate to see government actions accidentally harming this trust, or the programming community.

    P.S. It is not if you are legal what are you afraid of? Government officials/FBI sometimes appear to be ignorant of technology issues, and paranoid of things they don't understand, and many innocent (but suspicious appearing) young children can be harmed by this.




    Corrinne Yu
    3D Game Engine Programmer
  • What I really think the government is shopping for are CS grads who will work for them. By paying the tuition bill they're forcing them into years of government wages. I could make $70K minimum walking into any tech shop on the planet and slapping down my resume. If I walk into the government shop, they offer me thirty-five. The only people who would ever take the government job are the ones who have no merit to the public sector; been fired a dozen times, code sucks, couldn't refit an Alpha if their life depended on it, etc. (Of course, there are exceptions; Donald Becker, Mr. NetworkDriver, works for them.)

    Anyone else smell 'Northern Exposure'?
  • Back when President Clinton was campaigning for his second term in office, he spent a lot of time "trying to reach" young people. When asked during an interview how appealing to adolescents and teens will help him win an election, he said "Because I don't want this to be the first generation in American history to do worse than their parents."

    I think this fund is motivated by his views on youth in America - wanting to encourage the next generation to get involved in a very lucrative field, and not some conspiracy theory. Just my 2 cents.
  • Having just escaped from college with a BS/MS in Computer Engineering, this doesn't frighten me in terms of secretly bolstering some three-letter-agency. This frightens me by exactly what it will do to the competency of the people actually combatting the real threats to our military, operational, and communications electronic systems.

    I don't hesitate at all to say that many, possibly bordering on most, computer science graduates from prominent Universities could benefit from a few years at DeVry to learn actual skills complimenting their theoretical skills memorized from 4 years of generally shoddy teaching and textbooks with concepts and methods that were old 5 years ago... This isn't a knock on students/teachers in general, just a personal observation based on the type of work I had to do on class projects, and the number of times us top students had to cover for less-motivated/less-skilled students in our groups, who were in the majority.

    So, let Clinton spend his $91M. Just playing the odds, the vast majority of takers he'll get will be people qualified to work Help Desk, write script widgies, or just generally be in significant need of more training before they'll be useful. The top students who know they can make more money in the private sector, can get more money in scholarships anyhow, and cringe at the thought of working for the Fed, probably won't be any more likely to take this than they would the already existing ROTC money that promises the same type of work after college in the military.

    ... and let's face it, most of them will end up in one way or another with their fingers in military/defense projects anyhow, so why not just stick with ROTC? Sounds to me like just one more bit of presidential hype. Just my $.02.

  • by Anonymous Coward
    That's right, it's like giving s starving Ethiopean a half of a potato chip.
  • I have seen too much brutal competition among the CS crowd. Imagine starting now and graduating in a recession. It might be better to diversify your talents to include a stronger foundation if that field dries up. Get an electrical engineering degree. You will have many more opportunities, especially if the CS field is saturated when you need a job the most.

    Start with building blocks in electronics with a BSEE, where you will build your computer, first in simple sections from latches and logic gates, to real wire wrapped monsters, complete with 8 bit bus and NTSC video. Write the software in assembly and make a crude interface to control simple devices like stepper motors making something such as an electronic bartender.

    I felt it was more fun starting from scratch with a new computer and having the intimate knowledge how to make it tick.
  • I believe the submitter is giving Clinton too much credit. I find it very hard to believe that a proposal and plan could be created, written up, and presented in such a short time after the Y2K criticism. After all, don't forget, this is the government we're talking about, and everyone knows how slow it can be.
  • by A4Joy ( 54907 ) on Friday January 07, 2000 @09:40AM (#1393983)
    I am thinking back to my first-year computer science classes. There were 180 first-years, bright-eyed and anxious to tackle programming and design and all that associated stuff.

    60% dropped out after the first semester.

    There were 15 people graduated from the department (including me).

    This was not a particularly hard program (there wasn't a lot of math, which frightens some people off). It's just that most people can't hack the program (pun intended).

    Computer science was one of the smallest departments too. Why? Well, we may be revered by business, who pay us good salaries to do relatively little work (compared to, say, a bricklayer) because we are in such demand. But do you know what the average high school student's impression (especially a girl) of a computer programmer/engineer/etc. is? Nerd. Dweeb. Egghead. They don't want to be perceived as such, so they pursue other fields that don't have that stigma attached to them. They can take their philosophy, psychology, etc. courses and earn the degrees that will allow them to flip my burgers for the rest of their lives.

    Enrollment is on the rise, but people are just beginning to overlook the usual social stigma of being a computer programmer and see that it is not like that and that they can make a lot of money doing it. It's sad--there are student in the program not for the love of doing it, but for the eventual cash.

    And that, my friends, is why we will always have a job, even in the toughest recession. Watch the psychology students starve, 600 fighting for one sales position at J.C. Penney's, while we will have our pick of the jobs.
  • by TomG ( 9985 )
    I'm an asshole technical elitist who would be extremely complimented if someone called him a 'hacker'.
  • Heh heh... I'm a CS major myself and I hate CS geeks too!

    Buncha dumb question answerers, twinky in da beard wearers, stinky couches!
  • assuming all of that $91M gets dispersed to the students

    That is a pretty big assumption. Given how the government usually works, I'd be surprised if even half that amount actually went to students, the other half would likely disappear into the black hole of Washington beaurocratic overhead and administrative overhead.

  • by Chris Johnson ( 580 ) on Friday January 07, 2000 @09:44AM (#1393987) Homepage Journal
    The question is, is the government going to expend millions to have more students taught by teachers that Microsoft has expended millions to assimilate and teach MS-only comp sci [chronicle.com]?

    In short, is Clinton wittingly or unwittingly loading people into a channel that Microsoft has surreptitiously bought outright? Maybe it would be better if computer education got _less_ money so people would be forced to think about theory and write their own stuff instead of taking how-to courses on commercial products. The world doesn't start and end with programmers- huge percentages of the computer courses of the world are really "Using Microsoft Works" and the like. Do we want that to become federally subsidized?

  • This whole proposal is inherently flawed and another true recipe for disaster. This will give struggling script kiddies and l33t Haxors who cant find real employment a home. Our tax dollars at work.

    he will propose on Feb. 7, will request $91 million from Congress for computer security as part of an overall $2 billion budget "to meet our security challenges."

    91 million? This seems like an awful lot of money for a program like this. Not that it isn't important, but for a "start up" it sure seems like much of this will be dedicated to administrative overhead and not to paying the "consultants"

    "I will continue to work equally hard to uphold the privacy rights of the American people as well as the proprietary rights of American businesses," he said.

    His previous decisions and policy on privacy rights blows chucks, I hope whatever he introduces for business proprietary, and intellectual property rights is solid. Now there is way too much confusion, law suits, etc.

    The scholarship program would be modeled after the military ROTC program, aides said. College students would receive education subsidies to develop computer-security skills if they agree to work for the government after graduation.

    Lets see here. If I were a computer science major or some flavor of, and was looking for opportunities upon leaving school, what would I do?

    1. Take a GS 4 job with uncle Sam and make 30K on the high end, or
    2. Take a job in the private sector making substantially more than 30K and enjoy the flexibility that comes with it.

  • I agree completely. I'm a CpE major, and this is exactly the reason. I've seen way to many "computer people" who can't use a saudering iron, let alone understand gate logic. If one is going to go into a geek field, ya might as well LEARN the stuff, rather than just how to use it.

    And for what it's worth, I agree with the AC that started this... CS people do have a nasty habit of not being well rounded at all. It's sad to know that so many people don't recognize that big glowing ball in the sky anymore...

    --

  • by dantes ( 89932 ) on Friday January 07, 2000 @09:48AM (#1393991)
    See the following link [whitehouse.gov] from the President's web site containing the full executive summary of the plan. Page 28 specifically deals with the scholarship plans.

    There is also mention of setting up "meaningful" internship programs for college and promising high school students (I noticed a comment somewhere about the need to start the process earlier in a childs academic career). Please remember that this is a proposal, no details have been made public (i.e. eligible schools, amounts of scholarship, years of service required, etc.). I think this is an admiriable idea, and we should support efforts like these. If you have strong feelings regarding the implementation of this plan, WRITE YOUR ELECTED REPRESENTATIVES!!!!!

    For those of you outside the United States, if you think this plan would help out technology in your country, WRITE YOUR REPRESENTATIVES. For those of you living where your views will not be heard by the powers that be, MOVE/SEEK ASYLUM!!!!
    -la
  • by lari ( 96750 )
    Nah.

    Just wait a few more years, then get loud and "reclaim" it.

    Hey, it worked for "queer."
  • 91 mil in scholarships in exchange for future public service.
    Ok, wouldn't it be simpler to take that 91 million and use it to hire US citizens away from the private sector?
    Oh wait, that would provide instant results instead of dissappointing results during the next guy's term.


    Well, I kinda agree with you, but on the other hand I think it's a good idea to get more people into a computer science degree program, type-of-thing..

    On an unrelated note, why is it that no AC ever wants to see ME naked and petrified?

    Well, if you insist... SH03B0Y N4K3D 4ND P3TR1F13D! (my hax0r speek is not quite what it used to be)

    :-)


    ---
  • I hope you're right. I've heard about the numbers at Tufts, my alma mater, and if anything I've been assuming we're heading towards a glut of people- my class in 1993 had about 50 or 60 people, now they have like 3 sections of 90 each. Sometimes I think that comp sci is a real brain drain- other fields of science are ultimately as important, but many students are drawn towards the "easy money" of compsci.
  • ... march up and down the Square at 0600 (6am to you civilian weenies.)

    ... march in formation, chanting "this is my rifle, this is my gun" (grab crotch when saying "gun", a la Full Metal Jacket.)

    Just another fine Clintoon policy ...

  • Maybe I'm just warped (always a possibility, I suppose) but this comment strongly reminded me of "Tron."

    Defend and fight in cyberspace? You can't tell me that that doesn't sound nauseatingly Hollywood. Work it into ninety minutes and shop it around.

    Who knows? It might be better than "The Net"...
  • IMHO, alot of us have missed the point; instead of whining about beaurocracy or overhead, how about looking at what kind of recognition this is?

    The government is finally realizing the importance of computer security. It is the infrastructure of the US now and needs protection. In response to this, they're going to recruit, and more than likely also train CS students on the field of information security.

    Hey, if you're already in school, then stop complaining, it wasn't meant for you. For those who wouldn't get to college otherwise, spending 3 years in a government job getting 1/2 of what you wouldn't have had at all otherwise sounds damn good.

    --
    How do you keep an idiot in suspense?
    Tell him the next version of Windows will be faster, more reliable, and easier to use!

  • Its highly unlikely the field will dry up (at least not anywhere in the near future or moderate future). The number of students attempting CS degrees is not increasing anywhere near as fast as the demand for their skills is even though the starting salaries is grosely larger than what some other majors could get.
  • I don't want to see a "Big Brother" state of teenage computer coders being financially encouraged to turn in and monitor their fellow coders (most of them innocent).
    Much of coding is learning from each other and sharing information and understanding. This involves a lot of trust and friendship.
    I would hate to see government actions accidentally harming this trust, or the programming community.


    Well, it doesn't really look like that type of a program..

    First off, forget any mention of ROTC. That only leads one to think of the "military", which is not what they're getting at. The only similarity to ROTC, AFAICS, is "we give you money now, you work for us later".

    Mainly the program sounds like it's targeted at getting more people into the computer security field.

    Computer security isn't primarily about "turning in your fellow coders"... It's mainly about preventing your fellow coders from being able to do anything worth turning them in for. The government may not realize that (I'm sure they don't in fact), but the people getting these jobs and money will.

    P.S. It is not if you are legal what are you afraid of? Government officials/FBI sometimes appear to be ignorant of technology issues, and paranoid of things they don't understand, and many innocent (but suspicious appearing) young children can be harmed by this.

    I totally agree. That's why this program is good, in that it helps to educate people to do this type of thing correctly. The government doesn't "need to know" these things, but the people who work for the government and implement the policies do.

    ---
  • Think about how courts are administered over districts with physical/geographical boundaries. It's not always easy to map something critical happening on a nationwide network to a specific jurisdiction. So imagine solving that by creating the District of Cyberspace.

    And, don't read me wrong - I'm not proposing a Cyberspace Force. But look how hard/how far we pushed Y2K readiness. Don't you think we could take information warfare a lot futher?

  • Could be a difference in culture and dialect meaning the Flavour of "correct" spelling and grammer.
  • Yes, the monitary incentive will cause some people to go into CS/IT/IS who are not very good at it.
    But given all the people who will apply to this program, I seriously doubt that those people will get into the programs. You are more likely to get a group of people who are very intelegent and know what they are doing, who either can't afford the tuition, or like the idea of having the federal govornment pay for their education. These are the people who will most likely be selected. And with limited positions, the govornment can be choosy.

    Also, you may be getting paid ~30K extra a year for the few years that someone else is working for the govt', but you are also paying of ~30K a year for a few years in loans (or equivalent, spread out over more years,) unless your parents were wealthy or you went to a chaper school.

  • The fact that few college students choose a computer career is very likely NOT to to difficulty paying for it.

    That is true. However, don't forget to consider those students who otherwise might not go to college at all.

    I have a brother-in-law who is 16 yrs old. He loves computers, is starting to learn programming, and has a very bright mind. But on his fathers income, they can't even afford a good public university. If he makes it to college at all, it will be a local community college or through grants and scholarships. And scholarships are harder to get if you are single white male unless you score phenomenally high on your ACT/SAT. This could be an excellent chance for him to break out of the sub-standard existance his family currently lives in.

    Yes, he would have to work for the government, but for only 4-5 years probably (4 years is the current ROTC time period) and at 26, with 4 years of experience, he could get one hell of a nice private sector job.

  • This is reminding me too much of the federal programmers in Snow Crash -- the coding sweatshops with ridiculous beaurocracy, etc. Is there any way for the Feds to create a working environment I wouldn't hate? Barring that, for how long would I agree to work for them? (maybe a guess based on ROTC -- does anyone know?)

    I think I'd rather be tens of thousands in the hole when i get out of college than be committed to a job that might suck.

    --Jack
  • by palutke ( 58340 ) on Friday January 07, 2000 @10:07AM (#1394014)
    Geek Boot Camp:

    This is my keyboard. There are many like it, but this one is mine. My keyboard is my life. I must master it as I must master my life. Without me, my keyboard is useless. Without my keyboard, I am useless . . .
  • I don't think there's any need ot worry. I'm a second year CS up here in Canada.., Sure, our FIST YEAR class was twice as large as what it was 2 yrs ago, but by the second year 50% or more had dropped out. Just because you are brainy in science does not mean you have the skills to be good with computers... theres a big difference between a researcher and a programmer. You really have to LIKE CS to be good at it, and be good whne you graduate. Those who are just in it for the money are easy to spot, both by us, and hopefully, by companies.

  • Not suprising that Clinton would use 'hack' incorrectly... he's probably still struggling with what the definition of 'is' is.
  • I agree wholeheartedly.

    Computer science, like spelling and grammar, makes a much greater impression when learned while young. Neglecting it can result in adults who apparently have no clue what they are or should be doing and as a result give the impression of being ignorant and uneducated.

    This is a major contributing factor to the decline of American society in whatever century this is.
  • There are some pretty good paying (when you consider benefits, hours worked, etc, not just base salary) government jobs. Unfortunately, there are very few of them. Most of them as you note, pay considerably below what private industry would for the same work. Unfortunately, most of the good paying government jobs tend to be filled with PhD's, so a program designed primarily to get people undergraduate degrees is only going to be turning out candidates for the poorly paying government jobs. Even more wacky is that I get the same sort of salary range you are talking about in private industry even with no degree at all, and I probably wouldn't even be considered for a lot of government jobs at considerably lower rates because they are more picky about formal education versus experience than the private sector is.

  • I visited my former school to find that the A,B,C,D,F grading system had been replaced by S and N ("Satisfactory" and "Needs Improvement"). Hmmmm. No grade of "fail"! Don't kids get FAILED for slacking off and not learning anymore and forced to repeat the semester or go to summer school? "Oh we can't do that. That would be psychologically damaging and traumatic to the child." So everyone passes until they're graduated and then find they can't get a job that needs a brain despite "earning" their diploma. I guess this is supposed to be psychologically "healthy"? Schools need to be more than 8-3 daycare. They need to TEACH or be shut down and replaced with facilities that do teach. Kids that can't pass the standardized tests need to be held back. Better to delay a kid a year or two than to promote him blindly through prepetual incompetence. If he failed 6th grade, how will he do better in 7th? and 8th? etc.? He'll be forever behind and forever lost, until he's pushed out the school door an unskilled and hapless individual.
  • I worked for the US Army in that type of a position. It was a very good move. Not only was it easy work, but it was fun. Employers also look upon it VERY highly and give you more $$$ after you get out of the Army. So ya the pay is low while you are in..but it is an investment, you get more out of it in the end. And I get to play with guns and mortars (mortars are VERY fun) Wolfgang Spangler
  • unfinished (thank god!) future by many individuals.
  • I don't think I've ever seen a "neener" density that high.

    I'd tip my hat, but I don't own one.

  • I'm a CpE major, and this is exactly the reason. I've seen way to many "computer people" who can't use a saudering iron, let alone understand gate logic. If one is going to go into a geek field, ya might as well LEARN the stuff, rather than just how to use it.

    I totally disagree with that. I've seen the exact opposite.

    There are way too many engineers out there who don't understand proper coding skills (because all they learned in school was Fortran) well enough to be able to create a bug-free system. The demand for programmers is huge, and these people are getting these jobs, because they have some programming experience, when all they really know how to do is sauder a board together.

    Now this is not universal. Some of the brightest guys I know are EE geeks. But the vast majority of people with an EE degree don't want to code, and yet that's the majority of the jobs out there for EE's. If you want to code, go CS as you'll learn a lot more theory, which is worth it in the long run. The EE stuff you may need to know is not hard to pick up, whereas it can be hard to pick up coding when all you know is fortran.

    Computer Engineering is a good idea, but poorly implemented at a lot of schools. It's basically a cross between EE and CS, but not getting into any depth on either one. If you're undecided between the two, then it may be worth looking at. But the CpE's I know (admittedly very few) couldn't program their way out of a paper bag. One guy I know who graduated with a 3.5+ average in CpE (he had a 1.5- overall) is also one of the stupidest people I have ever met in my entire life. He would be one of those people who couldn't understand which way to plug in the power cord.

    CS people do have a nasty habit of not being well rounded at all.

    I admit this is true to a certain extent, at least upon graduation. But you could say this about most majors, IMNSHO. The thing that provides a person well-roundedness is job experience.

    Well, that's just my take on the subject..

    ---
  • This is just another PR stunt. The NSA's been running programs like this for years, you just have to know to ask for them. They pay for college, you work for them summers and at least 6 years after you graduate.
  • Defend and fight in cyberspace? You can't tell me that that doesn't sound nauseatingly Hollywood. Work it into ninety minutes and shop it around.

    It's been done. It's called "The Matrix". :)
  • [Know of any good graduate programs?]

    I admit this is a bit off topic but...

    I have just completed my undergraduate degree in something other than CS (social psychology and architecture). Like many of my geek friends I got tired of paying for a CS education that was either taught by a really old guy or an MS prostitue. Had I intended to get a CS degree I wouldn't have chosen the college I attended but who knows what they are doing when they are 18 anyway? Though I gleaned alot of valuable information from my minor in CS (data structures and OO come to mind) I am having problems locating a good masters program that does not require an undergrad degree in CS. I am willing to make up a few classes to bring me up to speed, I just don't want to go to college for another 5 years (there's too much money out here in the 'real world'). State schools are prefered...

    Thanks,
    DS
  • Another option for him is to go the 2-year associates degree community college route, then get a private sector job that will assist in paying tuition for him to complete his degree in a night program (most larger companies have some sort of program like this). I've known quite a number of people who have taken this route and been successful with it. It may take him 6 or 7 years to get a bachelor's degree this way, but he will get much better experience and not have to be essentially an indentured servant to the government for a fixed period of time. Chances are he would get to his nice private sector job at 24 or 25 instead of 26 too.

  • The way to fix computer security is to make OS vendors strictly liable for security breaches made possible by OS vulnerabilities. This seems unreasonable, but then, in its day, so did making auto companies liable for accidents caused by vehicle defects. We're used to letting software vendors off the hook on liability issues, and this is wrong.

    Yes, it will add a liability cost to every OS purchase. OS vendors would need liability reserves and reinsurance. So? That's normal practice in other industries. The cost might be less than people spend on anti-virus programs.

    It's time for computing to grow up. This is a necessary step, and a normal one in the progress of an industry. Railroads were forced to accept liability for their actions early in this century; auto companies were forced into it in the 1960s and 1970s. Computing is now pervasive enough it's time for computing to accept its responsibilities.

    I have some concrete proposals circulating for peer review in this area, and I'll have more to say about that in future.

  • Ooooh! I know what the glowing ball in the sky is! It's the *DAYSTAR*!!

    But then, I'm CSE, not CS, so I might be expected to know.
  • Actually this isn't quite right. The "correct" definition for a hacker according to the people who complain about its misuse is something like "a clever or talented programmer." By this definition, Woz and Linus and others like them are "hackers." People who break into computer systems are (depending on their skill and persistence) "crackers" or "script kiddies".

    I really don't care if "hacker" is used "correctly," but that's supposedly the "correct" meaning.
  • I had just been discussing this topic with a friend of mine. He's doing his thesis on what I guess could be called Internet Warfare.

    It is worth reflecting on the fact that an Internet military power can be gained for extremely small amounts of money by countries that would otherwise not be able to attack/disrupt the more conventional military powers.

    So now we have:

    Of course we also have the "Techies Day" [http://www.techiesday.com/ 600_press/620_clips/index.html [techiesday.com]] stuff going on in parallel with Gore touting the need to US techies and pointing out the extreme techie shortage.

    My feeling is that all of this is good. It is better than just the news itself. It is very good that the US government has the foresight (gasp) in addressing these current and future problems.

  • Well, this is a "me too" post, so ... moderators, do your worst :(

    Anyways, I too have seen many electronics graduates who were clueless when it comes to programming. I have also seen many bright ones that program circles around anyone I can think of. I have also seen the same for CS people too.

    The path you choose to take in school does not make you an intelligent person.

    Much more can be gained from real-world job experience, than can ever be gained in school. This is not to say that school is a waste of time either. Education is meant to prepare you for the job world, and should be treated as such, and nothing more.

    As well, I haven't found it written anywhere, where it's said that you stop learning once you graduate. Unfortunately, there are people in the world that seem to live this philosophy, which is quite sad. I believe that most, if not all, of the "clueless" CS or ET people in the world, are probably people that have chosen to live this way.
  • Finally! The industry adopted Windows as the only game in town. Ok, give Bill Gates credit for seeing an opportunity before anyone else did. Do they know that it is simply a fat GUI on top of DOS/BIOS? When a new virus is found, why isn't anyone asking "Why isn't the OSV doing something about this?" or, more importantly, "Is there a *better solution* than this one?"
  • by Thag ( 8436 ) on Friday January 07, 2000 @10:45AM (#1394043) Homepage
    This is an annoying policy which is designed to make Clinton LOOK like he's doing something, but which will a) not actually fix the problems and b) have bad side effects.

    Firstly, you can bet that the majority of that 91 million is NOT going into scholarships. The 91 million pays for the entire set of programs being set up, the scholarships are just being trotted out as the poster boy.

    Secondly, how exactly is it good to be doling out money for scholarships? Yes, it's nice to be giving bright-eyed young students money for college, but remember that the money that's being given away was collected from the other bright-eyed young students who are having to work their way through school. There is no such thing as a free lunch.

    Thirdly, the new Clinton program includes the establishment of a new federal beaurocracy that, as usual, will be accountable to NOONE. Like, say, OSHA, or the EPA, agencies who are not directly accountable to the voting public but whose decisions carry the force of law. This is a Bad Thing.

    Lastly, it doesn't even address the major problem of technical education in the US, which is that the majority of students that enroll in technical majors get weeded out DELIBERATELY by the universities and colleges that are getting paid to teach them. If only 80% of the people who went into those program graduated from them, we'd double the supply of high-tech workers and researchers immediately! It infuriates me that the attitude (at Penn State, at least) is that "oh, well, 60% will drop out or become business majors, nothing we can do." That should be a mark of failure for the university! An airline which only delivered 40% of its passengers to the destination they desired would be out of business damn fast, let me tell you.

    What would I do make the situation better? I'd make the funding given out to colleges and universities dependent on the percentage of people who graduate from the majors of their choice (ignoring voluntary changes of major, and maybe not even then if the voluntary changes aren't really voluntary). Make the institutions of learning have to KEEP their students to earn their suppers!

    Polemically yours,

    Jon Acheson
  • by TomG ( 9985 )
    I don't care about the sublties between _incorrect_ definitions of hacker and cracker.
  • by dkh2 ( 29130 )
    ..."cracker" (ie, something you put cheese on and eat or a poor white boy) ...

    Let me say right now that I have never put cheese on a poor white boy. Besides, I thought a "cracker" was someone who partakes of crack cocaine.

    • Cracker: (1) Somebody who takes crack cocaine. (2) A (usu.) baked wafer to which other foods are sometimes applied prior to consumption.
    • Hacker: (1) A bad golfer. (2) One who drives a hack (a.k.a. a taxi).

    "Una piccola canzone, un piccolo ballo, poco seltzer giù i vostri pantaloni."
  • He is looking into this route. He's having problems finding a decent community college though. Plus, I'm pushing him to go somewhere AWAY from home. I'm a firm believer that at 18, you SHOULD HAVE to live on your own for a while. Even a college dorm is more on your own than living under the rule of parents.
  • I must first admit to some bias. I'm an EE student. But I'm also a hacker; I learned BASIC on an AppleII when I was 7, and I've since learned a number of other languages. Not to say that I'm a good hacker though. I did most of my programming before I took formal classes, and most of them aren't very useful.

    I will say that if one major is more likely to understand the other better, it's EE/CpE. Not only do we have to design hardware, but we also have to code for it. The EE studies more coding practices than a CS student studies hardware design. It is the nature of the profession to require both.

    But, it doesn't mean that an EE is a great programmer. My passion is hardware, and writing software gets very tedious for me if it's large. I have some CS friends who often know more about a lot of hardware than I do. I even know a CS major that wired his yard with a variety of colored lights, built a hardware interface, wrote a PERL back end, and put up a web page where you can change the color of the xmas lights at his house from the his web page. The opposite example is my roommate, who is an EE, writes code for an airport in his spare time, and probably knows 20 different processors' assembly language (incidentally, he is mostly self-taught, and is getting his degree as a mostly formal matter...I hate him for knowing so much already).

    The biggest issue I have is with the following statement: "The EE stuff you may need to know is not hard to pick up, whereas it can be hard to pick up coding when all you know is fortran."

    Suddenly, you seem like an ignorant, self-agrandizing jerk. Do you really think so highly of CS and intend to dismiss EE out of hand like that? EE stuff is easy to pick up? Not quite. So what if you know a little about Ohm and Kirchoff and even a little RLC or gate logic? Beyond that, EE gets VERY tough. That's why mostly only those with a true passion for it manage to graduate.

    As for programming, what does knowing FORTRAN have to do with whether or not you are any good? Plenty of good code was written in FORTRAN... that's why it's been around for so long. Are you so big a tool that you don't recognize that once you learn good programming methodology, the tools you use (i.e. language) are irrelevant? The first time I took a formal language class, it was taught in PASCAL, a useless language. However, once I learned good structured programming techniques, I was able to pick up FORTRAN, C, and PERL with little to no difficulty. You can hardly say the same for someone who understands basic network theory (electrical network, BTW) and is trying to learn about TTL or systems/signal representation.

    Now it's time for me to be a pedantic ass:

    Solder. Soldering iron.

    Have a nice day. :)
  • Maybe you first heard it in the 80's, but I first heard it in the mid-70's being applied to clever computer users. ("Clever" does not imply "pretty", "professional", or "perfect", but sometimes it is none and sometimes it is all of those meanings, depending upon the situation.)
  • That's not necessarily true. None of the schools I've attended (or applied to) actually teach any Microsoft as part of the CS curriculum. The departments did have "MS Word for Meatheads" classes, but they were introductory level, and don't count as CS credits for the CS programs.

    All the upperclass CS classes are taught on Unix machines, with a few lower ones taught on PC's with the Borland (Inprise?) family of compilers, because they are cheap and the hardware is already in all of the IT labs.

    It's my impression that Clinton is only funding actual CS students, not those taking word processing and spreadsheet courses.
  • Instead of spending billions, why not spend the money on more reliable systems.

    As for the training, we already provide it. So just send some of your geekettes to Britain to train.
  • You really have to LIKE CS to be good at it, and be good whne you graduate. Those who are just in it for the money are easy to spot, both by us, and hopefully, by companies.

    I was talking about this with one of my undergraduate professors. He said that CS class sizes have grown a lot over the past decade. With a larger population of CS students, you would expect more good students, but he saw that the number of really good CS students was constant.


  • Many People are critisizing the way that the government is handling the appropriations of funds to help out computer science students. Well, if there are better ways to do this than have the government teach us, then why don't people in the industry setup their own classes for the subject. I mean, we see MS and other such companies that go around the country and setup seminars that are a few days in each city that help to show new technology and teach what is already out there.

    What the younger generations need is some sort of push by the people who are actually doing the coding out there now. I'm sure a lot of the youth of this country, if given the proper direction, would become much more valuable to our country and keep us ahead of the status quo. So, all you guys (and gals) out there programming at places like Red Hat, MS, id, Electronic Arts, etc...let's band together to show kids what coding is really all about! Thanks.
  • Think about how courts are administered over districts with physical/geographical boundaries. It's not always easy to map something critical happening on a nationwide network to a specific jurisdiction. So imagine solving that by creating the District of Cyberspace.

    D.C., eh?

    And that's pretty much the same difficulty with taxing internet commerce. And I haven't heard anyone with a coherent plan for dealing with that, either. Square pegs, round holes. Everyone's just really good at slamming everyone else's dumb ideas... the creativity to come up with something so crazy that it just might work doesn't seem to be anywhere.

    I think that we could take information warfare to some fairly startling levels. And the issue of responsibility on the part of the companies who leave these security holes that one could drive a proverbial Mack truck through is a starting place in dealing with the potential problem, and the basic kernel of the idea of "let's give people an incentive to come help us figure this out" is another. The problem with it is, unsurprisingly, the implementation. Which to some extent stems from the fact that there is not a wholehearted commitment to it. Which to some extent stems from the fact that there haven't really been many clearly defined objectives/goals/problems. There are scenarios, and there are known security flaws, but as far as I can tell no one actually knows what they want to do, and there's some apprehension about throwing money into a void.

    Y2K readiness got pushed the way it did because there was a definite goal, there was a definite deadline, and there were some pretty convincing projections about what might happen if this goal wasn't reached. If we knew that on, say, May 23rd, 2002 there would be a major "cyberattack" on the U.S. government, things might be different. The commitment might be there. But there really isn't a powerful incentive for most people to care right now.

    Random thing I just heard: "Horse with No Name" is about heroin?

  • They can take their philosophy, psychology, etc. courses and earn the degrees that will allow them to flip my burgers for the rest of their lives

    Plenty of philosophy majors go on to work in the computer industry. Formal logic is obviously a key part of programming. Being able to view a problem from its various levels is also mighty helpful - how often do programmers get stuck viewing a problem on a code-based level, rather than on the level of the people they're working with (designers, writers, business people, etc.)

    In short, neither I or my philosophy major friends will be flipping burgers for you, sir.
  • Yes, but if you don't point out that it should be "too", instead of "to", how do you expect the original poster to see their error?

    It helps no one to say RTFD.

    My english is certainly not perfect, and subject to correction. But if you are going to take the effort and time to correct someone, then you may as well take the extra step and point out the specific error, and what the correct wording would be.

  • You really have to LIKE CS to be good at it, and be good whne[sic] you graduate...

    And how do you get good at something? Practice.

    The few people who graduated didn't just sit at a computer, figure out a solution for a problem and then write the program because they had an assignment due. They, as do I, did and still do it on their spare time as a hobby. For me and for the other true geeks I know, computers and programming is an all-consuming passion. For example, I have been up until 2am the past two nights working with packet drivers and far calls to assembly routines in DOS from C. People say, 'DOS is deprecated, do something in Windows where you have the proper tools'. They shake their heads when I tell them that it's no fun that way.

    This is the spirit that is lacking in 99% of the CS majors today.
  • by jlb ( 78725 )
    I don't think the classes that would be based on microsoft technology would really be so horrible. When I was still in school EVERYTHING was macs, because of the deals apple cut with schools. A lot of my friends started with the same thing. We don't use macs now. What does that mean?

    However a lot of us were already using PCs so that may have made a difference. I don't know what I'd be doing for a living now if I had never been exposed to a PC.

    It would be nice if for some of the more advanced public school cs classes (read: not keyboarding, not word processing) would offer ways to learn alternative (Anything But Microsoft) ways of doing things.

    But I think the tech departments, in the current state of things, would have a hard time convincing the school administrators there's need for anything else. And I think it would be hard to convince the tech departments of most schools of the same thing.

    Perhaps some of us who claim to be concerned could volunteer some time, or something.

  • OK, this could either turn into a Retief-style CDT experiment or it could be the GI Bill of the 21st Century. I'm hoping for the latter, but since politicians are setting it up, betting on the former.

    I regret that I have but one rev to give to my country.
  • You forgot some of the positive aspects:

    Exposure to foods other than pizza and Coke

    Exposure to clothes other than jeans and t-shirts

    Exposure to sunshine

    Exercise

    Lose 30 Lbs

    Learn how to defend yourself

  • Lets question our assumptions here, people. Why do we feel that the federal government should be involved at all. Why should the government spend this money? Can anyone answer that yes, given the current record of "success" of government programs? Do you really think this is going to have an effect on the quality or numbers of computer-savvy people in the country? Bottom line: I don't want to pay for this.

    Why aren't there scholarships for CS-type programs? Oh, wait, there are. Why are CpE, CS, and EE programs so out of whack with what is needed in the real world? Because academia lacks a fundamental understanding of the pace of current technological development. There are many other ways to get to college and become a computer programmer or engineer. This is a totally and completely unnecessary expenditure.

    Lets be honest here. The shortage of people to fill the necessary jobs is due to three reasons:

    1)colleges don't prepare students for the tasks they will face in the job market because they are seriously behind the power curve in dealing with technology.

    2)Competence in a computer-oriented field requires intelligence, dedication, people skills, good math skills, and a voracious appetite for learning. Most people can't or won't do it.

    3)The above skills have to come from inside a person -- they come from discipline, integrity, and self-confidence. You can't teach that in school except in an indirect way, by example. And we all know how much our teachers are paid -- we get way more than we pay for, but not as much as we need. This limits the computer workforce to the people who have the guts to do it.

    Throwing money at the problem does not work. Get real -- set up a scholarship yourself, or support someone who does, if this really bothers you. Quit automatically assuming that the government has the obligation to solve your problems.

    Just think of the government solution as a bubble sort. :)

    Aetius
  • CNN had a report [cnn.com] on a similar program that is run by the NSA.

    I wonder though if it will have the result that Clinton hopes it will have. First there is a lag of at least 5 years before these kids have a Masters degree. (correct me if I am wrong, the American uni-system is sometimes a bit confusing) That doesn't make them experts on security yet. 6 or 7 years is a long time in Computer Science. Can he wait that long? Maybe the money should be invested in solutions on a shorter term. (Hire @stake)
    Second: It is a fact that the Beta sciences are not as popular as the Alpha and Gamma sciences. I do not expect a sudden dramatic shift in the amount of people going for CS as a result of this.
    Third: Though governments generally give you cool stuff to play with and are often willing to spent money on hardware, the pay usually sucks. So does the overall image of the government. This scheme doesn't give me the idea that this is going to change, therefore not many people in my opinion will go for it. It might just be better to invest in better wages.
    Fourth (and then I will stop to rant): Is the threat really *that* big? Remember the Janes article on Cyberwarfare? I am not saying that security is not important, but I am wondering if the dangers are as high as some people try and make us belief

  • I dunt undastand what ya meen by errors.
    my spilling and the grammar are realy best.
    I like the microsoft.
    Jello is good.
    ;)
    _________________________
  • I this move really going to give us a body of expert computer scientists to draw upon, or simply bolster the mass of dba's and mediocre MCSE's? In my experience the best computer people have been those driven by curiosity and a love of learning. I did my BA and most of a PhD in Philosophy, I work with two former music majors and a writer. While somewhat usefule, I think throwing money at the supposed problem will produce limited results. I think it's laudable for Clinton's administration to put more money into education, though I personally would like to see it across the board, not just computer science.
    _____________
    I'll bet / with my Net / I can get / those things yet.
  • Enrollment is on the rise, but people are just beginning to overlook the usual social stigma of being a computer programmer and see that it is not like that and that they can make a lot of money doing it.

    I agree. The generation that is in elementry school and middle school is growing up SURROUNDED by computers. The ridicule in that generation will be directed towards those who don't know how to turn on a computer rather than the computer programmers.

    However, I do NOT beleive that Computer Scientists/Programmers will have the job security and availability that they enjoy now. I'm a sophomore at Berkeley, and when I get my EECS degree, companies will probably be falling over themselves to employ me. But the generation younger than me will have a much higher percentage of people interested in computers as a career, and I beleive the job market will become more competative 15 years from now when more students get EE/CS degrees or the equivalent from places like devry.

    I think the most valuable skill to have for the next 50 years will be the ability to quickly learn new technology. Those who don't have the ability to learn quickly will run into a lot of trouble in the next couple decades.
  • Alright, so I'm getting ready to go to college, and while doing a fastweb search for scholarships, I noticed that the NSA was offering an undergraduate training program for students planning on majoring in computer science, language, or mathematics. I hate the NSA as much as just about any other slashdotter, and so I probably won't be applying myself, but I thought it was still pretty interesting.

    Check out the info page at http://www.nsa.gov:8080/programs/emp loy/utp.html [nsa.gov]

    Pretty creepy stuff...
  • Suddenly, you seem like an ignorant, self-agrandizing jerk. Do you really think so highly of CS and intend to dismiss EE out of hand like that? EE stuff is easy to pick up? Not quite. So what if you know a little about Ohm and Kirchoff and even a little RLC or gate logic? Beyond that, EE gets VERY tough. That's why mostly only those with a true passion for it manage to graduate.

    Well, excuse me for generalizing then.

    The point I wanted to make, but couldn't because I hate typing long annoying things:
    If you're going into the software world, you don't need to know as much about EE as a EE major will teach you. Since most every EE person I know graduated and then got a mostly programming job, I feel that learning the majority of that stuff was a waste of time in the immediate future. Perhaps in the long term they'll pick it up again.

    Advanced EE Stuff is NOT easy to learn. EE Stuff that you'll most likely need to know is a lot simpler.

    Honestly, if everyone had the time I'd say do both as a double major. Learning is a never-ending process.

    As for programming, what does knowing FORTRAN have to do with whether or not you are any good? Plenty of good code was written in FORTRAN... that's why it's been around for so long. Are you so big a tool that you don't recognize that once you learn good programming methodology, the tools you use (i.e. language) are irrelevant?

    No, but the method in which you learn it is extremely relevant. Fortran classes (in case you've never taken one) at most universities do NOT teach you programming. They teach you Fortran. There's a world of difference between those two methods.

    A person who learns a language knows that language and _may_ be able to learn others. A person who learns _programming_ and computer programming theory can learn _any_ language relatively quickly and easily. Of course, this depends on the individual. Your mileage may vary, etc, etc...

    The first time I took a formal language class, it was taught in PASCAL, a useless language. However, once I learned good structured programming techniques, I was able to pick up FORTRAN, C, and PERL with little to no difficulty.

    Exactly my point. I hate to say "me too" but I learned my programming exactly the same way (except I also learned C64 basic way back when I was a kid).

    The people I've known to take the engineering programming classes (fortran) did not learn to program. They learned to make some fortran code that worked, but not by learning structures, not by learning software methodology. They learned to pass that class. That's it.

    Everything I say is tainted by what I see, what I hear. Take it in that context. If you like, preface "In my experience," to each one of my sentences.

    I admit, EE is some crazy hard shit.. One of my friends took an antenna class once, and that book had me completely baffled. However, he ended up working in the computer networking field, mainly doing programming. Why? Because those were the people hiring EE majors. Not to say that later in life that stuff won't be useful, because it will. All knowledge is good. But we're talking about preparation for "the real world" here. If you're a programmer, that hardcore EE stuff is most likely not needed.

    Now it's time for me to be a pedantic ass:
    Solder. Soldering iron.


    You pedantic bastard! :-)

    Actually, I spotted that myself, but had hit submit too fast. Very well, smack me in the back of the head with a dictionary.

    ---
  • I don't see how this is going to help. $91M put into curriculum development might help. More research funding might help. But more money for CS undergraduates? Don't think so.

    I sometimes think about attacking the security problem by creating red teams that deliberately, systematically damage sites with bad security. Advantages: we get a better market for security products. A particular vulnerability can be exposed gradually over time, instead of exploited everywhere at once by a real adversary. Disadvantages: it's a nutty idea.

  • Right on, man. Unfortunately it's just the same here in the UK. Too much political correctness and not enough education, for fear of making life too hard for the little dears. Everything my kids (aged 4.5 and 6) have learned so far they learned here at home up to a year before the school got around to it.

    Your description of modern schooling as 8-3 daycare is spot on. What's the fucking use of it at all? The schools aren't run for the parent or the children any more, they're run to satisfy the "teaching" staff's political agenda.

    Yet another sign of the decline of Western civilisation.

    Consciousness is not what it thinks it is
    Thought exists only as an abstraction
  • Get up at 5am on an aircraft carrier 3000 miles out in the ocean. Clean toilets. Spend 6 months at a time at sea surrounded by ex convicts and guys who never take a shower. You're better off just getting good grades in your CS program and getting a job which can pay off your loans. There's a direct correlation between GPA and happiness which no ROTC program or anything else can defeat.
  • Okay--so Mr. Clinton wants to revitalize American technology by providing a new generation of workers with the skills for the new millennium (I didn't hear it, I didn't read it, but I somehow just know he said it). So he's proposing $91 million bucks to achieve this. To paraphrase a certain sports announcer:

    Let's go to the adding machine tape!

    • Start with $91,000,000
    • Subtract 40% for the usual government overhead (I'm being generous--it is likely more)--that leaves $54,600,000.
    • Divide by $14,000 to pay tuition and fees (this is high for most state schools, low for any private school)--the answer is 3,900.

    We can play with this math all we want: we might see this program provide a free four-year ride to a thousand students. Or the program might provide a $1400 stipend--once--to 39,000 Computer Science majors. But anyway you slice it, this doesn't amount to much more than a trivial gesture. If the nation has a "shortage" of 250,000 programmers no stipend, whether 1400 bucks or fourteen thousand bucks, is going to solve that problem.

    Above and beyond that--this is dumb. You don't want kids taking up programming "just for the money" anymore than you want to be treated by a doctor who is "just in it for the money." The whole point of the med school hazing process is to weed those guys out. A lot of kids think they'll make bucks programming--they're the ones that disappear. The programmers who last--and who are invaluable--do it because they love the challenge, they love to use their brains, and they love the constant learning process. And more often than not, the best programmers were NOT Computer Science majors. (Truth in hiring time: I generally view a Computer Science major as a negative on a resume. I would vastly rather see a liberal arts major, business, or engineering coupled with a CS minor or a distribution in programming.)

    Bottom line: this is a facile political gesture, from a president who has turned the facile political gesture into an art form.

  • I interviewed for a job with the one of the federal law enforcement agencies, tech stuff and a little administration. I've got two low degrees, various MS, Novell, System 3000 and IBM certs, plus on-the-job in the exact area they were shopping for. The pay wasn't top notch, but the project sounded exciting and I was in for a change anyway, 'cuz I couldn't stand the assembly line programming job I had. They passed me in favor of some fellow with a big-name college marketing degree who hadn't touched a line of code in ten years.

    Anyway, I ended up in my current position, which I would gladly do for less money, so I guess it worked out..

If bankers can count, how come they have eight windows and only four tellers?

Working...